5-4 Wiki Info Nizwa
After our bus ride back to Muscat we got onward tickets to Nizwa. Since it doesn't leave until 2:30pm we decide to go where stores are open now (10:30am - it's Friday and in conservative Oman nearly everything is closed after noon). This led us on somewhat of wild goose chase, trying to find cheaper transport and ending up first at the Crowne Plaza Hotel then at City Center Mall before finally returning to bus terminal...not cheap at all using taxis most of the way! ($26.00 US split 3 ways)!
It seems to me that the much beloved Sultan of Oman likes to do things 180° from the UAE Emirs. They build tall, glitzy structures and in Oman the emphasis looks to me to be short, stocky, and practical. UAE imports most of it's labor whereas Oman has a 90% quota (% of workers in a business who must be Omani). Oman is not mining it's huge copper resources as kind of a savings for future generations (they have comparatively little oil). UAE is drilling all the time to suck out as much oil a possible NOW! Also, in landscaping much more intelligent choice of trees in Oman - Neem and date palms. UAE the trees are being "chopped" like we've seen in most other countries where they've planted eucalyptus and other inappropriate types which grow tall so they hack them back...plus, these types are major water suckers!
Got to Nizwa and taxi driver was very nice...took us to 3 different hotel/Guesthouses and we finally got down to the price we could afford. I don't think Omani people (taxi driver included ESP) realize the pricing is different for tourists. When we told the driver the first hotel quoted us $55 rials he said an Omani would rather sleep in the street than stand to pay that much! That says to me he was surprised by how much we were quoted. Another interesting comment by our driver when we questioned whether the AC in the room worked (it looked old/on its last legs), the driver who was standing at the desk laughed, "You cannot live in Oman without AC!" How times have changed!
Checking on a hired car to visit several places of interest we got hugely inflated prices for where we wanted to go. Write off any historic visiting around here, it seems most people go on tours or have there own cars (rented most likely if not an Omani). The UNESCO Fort was closed so we'll try tomorrow before heading out to our next town along the way.